General wood carving and whittling supplies include a white artist eraser for cleaning up tracing lines and the oil or dirt left from handling your wood plaque. This style of eraser has no dye color that can mar your wood.
Hardwood dowels, anchor screws, and dowel pins allow you to accurately join several lengths of carving wood boards or add a cane topper securely to your wood walking stick staff.
A ball-point stylist is used in tracing your pattern lines to the wood blank. The depth gauge shown in the photo is an antique that I inherited from my father’s woodworking kit. There are several styles of depth gauges available for your relief carving that allows you to accurately determine the layers and levels in your rough out work.
The sliding T-square ruler is perfect for marking accurate border lines around your carving patterns. I often use mine to create the right angle guide lines for pattern placement.
A compass can be used to pull a border line along the outer edge of your carving plaque for borders as well as create smooth curves in your pattern tracing. I use the small compass, shown top, for circles and arcs, and the larger compass for border lines. The drafting dividers, shown bottom, are used to divide circles into even pie wedges. In relief carving I often use them to as a depth gauge in hard to reach areas of the work.
Safety is an important issue with any craft or hobby. In woodworking, wood carving, and whittling your kits should include a few disposable dust masks for your sanding and finishing steps as well as a pair of safety glasses.
The rubber stops are cane and walking stick tips that give a secure rubber end to you staffs. They can be epoxy glued or screwed into the end of the stick to attach them permanently.
A simple elastic hair band is an absolute necessity to keep your long hair away from your face as you work. I also keep a small jewelry box (not shown) on my work table where I place my rings and necklaces during any work session.
Plastic syringes, without needles, are wonderful for placing small amounts of wood glue accurately into small or tight areas. The small saw, next to the syringes, is a ceramic or gourd cutting tool. It is a simple rigid, strong wire that can reach into very tight areas. I use mine to cut leaves, ears, and hair spikes away from the background wood.
A brass wire brush is used in the clean-up steps of whittling and relief carving to remove those stubborn wood fibers that your tool cuts can leave behind. Old toothbrushes are great for removing wood dust left from the sanding steps, applying oil and wax finishes.
This photo shows a set of safety gloves used in wood carving and whittling. This particular set increases your gripping power while you work. There are also Kevlar gloves that can decrease you chances of getting cut while working. Of note, no set of carving gloves will totally protect your hands from the knife or tool edge. Practicing safe carving procedures is your greatest protection.
Painter’s tape can be used to pull long straight guide lines on your wood blank. It is low tack and leaves very little or no glue residue on your wood.
Your kit will need several pencils for tracing, guide lines, marking levels, and for making general notes on your pattern papers.
You will want a nice selection of sandpaper in your whittling and carving kit. Shown in the photo are 150-grit used for the rough out stage along coarse cut edges of your band saw cut blanks or for cleaning the router edges of wood plaques. 220- and 320-grit are used to smooth your finished carvings.
There are several tracing papers you can use to transfer your patterns to your wood blanks. Shown, left to right, is a sheet of white sewing or dressmaker’s carbon, a sheet of graphite paper, and a sheet of typewriter carbon.
The bench knife in this photo has a self-adhesive bandage strip wrapped around the plastic handle to increase your gripping power.
Basswood is my prefered beginner’s carving wood. Its fine, clear white grain is easy to cut, easy to sand, and easy on your budget. As you grow in your new craft you can branch out to butternut, mahogany, black walnut, and other great wood species.
Page 1 – Bench Knives, Detailers, and Whittling Knives
Page 2 – Beginner Carving Tool Sets
Page 3 – Rasps, Rifflers, Dental Picks
Page 4 – General, Tracing, and Sanding Supplies